UNBC held an appreciation luncheon Friday to thank Spectra Energy for the $1 million it's given to the university since 1995.
Art Kaehn, chair of the regional district of Fraser-Fort George took the opportunity to congratulate Doug Bloom, president of Spectra's Western Canada operations.
Kaehn mentioned how much he appreciated the community projects in the region that Spectra has funded over those 17 years and just before he left the podium, looked over at Bloom and said:
"I hear that getting to the first million is always a bit of a challenge, the next million will be a lot easier."
That brought roars of laughter from the crowd of dignitaries gathered at the UNBC Bentley Centre and Bloom took it in stride. Knowing what Spectra has a stake with its plan to build a natural gas pipeline in northern B.C., he expects his company's donations to UNBC to continue.
"UNBC is so important to us, we have over 850 employees that live in British Columbia and the majority of them live in northern B.C., so for our employees it's important to have access to quality education for their young people," said Bloom. "It's important to us as a company to have access to skilled workers. People who grew up in the North and went to school in the North, tend to stay in the North, where most of our operations are."
Spectra becomes the ninth benefactor to have contributed at least $1 million to UNBC. Rob Van Adrichem, UNBC's vice-president of external relations, told the audience there is a long list of UNBC students who have received scholarships and bursaries sponsored by Spectra.
"More than 80 of our students have benefitted and no donor has given more to aboriginal students than Spectra," said Van Adrichem.
The company marked its million dollar milestone Friday, as well as its 55th year of operation in B.C. As Spectra expands its provincial operations, Bloom expects the company will continue to tap into the knowledge base the university provides with its staff and students.
"That's one of the reasons why we are so supportive of this university, they do so many good things here, from the medical department to the environmental department," said Bloom. "Those are the kind of skills we need in the North as we continue to build our business.
"One really important thing we really focus on at UNBC is the medical program because we all know how important health care is to each of us, it's more of a challenge in the northern and remote communities. It's important to our employees and if it makes the North a better place for them to live, that's good for us."